The Great Recession had a huge impact on the global labor market, as millions of citizens lost jobs amid a host of public and private sector cuts. Alongside a technological evolution which has eliminated opportunities in some industries and created new careers in others, the labor market has yet to make a full and clearly-defined recovery.

While this has helped to create flexibility in the job market and inspire a new generation of freelancers, it has also made long-term security extremely hard to find. Modern-day job seekers must maintain an open-minded approach when seeking out opportunities, while those already in gainful employment may find themselves committed to an unsuitable or unfulfilling role.

What to do if you find yourself in the wrong career

If you belong to this category, it is all too easy to become disillusioned with the labor market and the lack of suitable, long-term opportunities. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage this situation and identify a relevant solution. Consider the following:

1. Do not dwell on past events

Although the recent recession may have had a huge impact on the labor market, this is not the only potential trigger for a lack of job satisfaction. You may have made a series of poor decisions, which have left you working in a role that does not suit either your skill-set or future aspirations. It is important not to dwell on past events or the exact reason for your career stagnation, as this will only create further feelings of negativity and depression. If you do reflect on these events, be sure to remain objective and look for positive lessons that can be learned.

2. List reasons why you are dissatisfied with your career

There are multiple reasons why you may be dissatisfied with your career, and it is important to consider these carefully before making a rash decision concerning your future. The intensity of these feelings can make it extremely difficult to maintain perspective. So be aware of this and make a conscious commitment to invest time and thought into determining your next move. Start by making a list of reasons why you are unhappy in your job, working through each to identify whether or not they can be realistically resolved over time.

3. Consider the positive aspects of your career

Conversely, your feelings of discontentment can easily overwhelm the positive or enjoyable aspects of your career. These are worthy of consideration, especially if you are fortunate enough to have a secure position of employment and a salary that reflects your credentials. It would be unwise to discard a fruitful career without fully appraising both its benefits and its drawbacks, as problems you are encountering may be short-term in nature or relatively easy to overcome. With this in mind, make sure you have an overview of the situation before making a final decision.

4. Understand the financial risks of immediately leaving your job

Even if you do decide that your current career is not right for you, making an immediate change is not necessarily the best course of action. This is especially true if you have a number of financial commitments, as unemployment may trigger a cycle of debt and subsequent feelings of anxiety, depression and panic. Always look to seek out alternative opportunities and roles of employment before leaving your existing position, as this will help you maintain a continual source of income.

5. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses before job hunting

When looking for alternative job roles, it is important to consider your strengths and weaknesses as an individual and employee. Your recent experience of being a disgruntled worker may have altered your self-perception, and revealed aspects of your personality that you did not know existed. So before commencing a new career, it is crucial you have a clear understanding of your unique value and any areas that require improvement. This will strengthen future job applications and help prevent previous issues from reoccurring.

6. Begin to network and identify relevant industry contacts

Once you have identified the future career path that will best suit you, begin networking and develop a range of relevant industry contacts. Whether you are looking to remain in the same sector as before or branch out into a new and unfamiliar market, identify influential partners who can help you achieve your career ambitions. These may be leading industry thought leaders or potential employers, but either way they can introduce you to new and exciting opportunities.

7. Develop your skill-set and academic credentials

While technological advancement has a reputation for making and breaking industries, there are sectors where it’s impact may be less dramatic. Regardless of this, the pace and unrelenting nature of innovation has forced every industry to evolve to some degree or another. This means employees must refine their skill-sets and academic qualifications on a regular basis. This is especially true if you are looking to change careers, as you will need to boast the relevant credentials in the eyes of employers.

8. Re-evaluate your life as a whole

As you prepare for your career switch, it may be the ideal time to re-evaluate your life and address any work-life balance issues that may exist. These issues may have played a part in exacerbating your previous feelings of discontentment, especially if you worked in a stressful job role that demanded considerable amounts of time and focus. By evaluating your life, its contents and the priority you give to employment, you can approach your new career with the right mind-set and avoid replicating previous mistakes in the future.

Featured photo credit: Alex E. Proimos via photopin cc

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